California Law to Close Group Homes Stresses Importance of Family for Every Foster Kid

In 2017, California’s group homes will be shutting down— or changing, at the very least — in the wake of new legislation passed in September 2015. The measure aims to move the state’s foster care system toward encouraging family-based placements for all foster children.

Critics of the bill argue that closing group homes will hurt kids in a system that already suffers from too few foster care beds, and that tough-to-place kids who may have behavioral issues but don’t meet the “clinical need” qualifications will be especially affected.  Read more here.

Foster Families Share Their Stories of Love and Loss

“Foster care changes a person,” wrote Stephanie Bennington, a former foster child from Fremont, Neb., after we asked readers to send us their foster care stories. The stories came in response to “Losing a Foster Child,” the most recent essay by Meghan Moravcik Walbert, who chronicled the time her family spent with the foster child she nicknamed BlueJay. Read the full article including comments by Deborah Dentler here.

Improving Care for Foster Children

Jessica, my first foster child, whom I last saw 14 years ago, emailed me out of the blue. She was barely nine then, and I was surprised to hear from her as I had never given her my email address.

My husband and I had thought of Jessica and her younger sister Nicole many times since they left our home in 2002 to be reunified with their family. Jessica (8 years old at time of placement) and her sister Nicole (18 months) were our first foster children, as well as the first children we ever parented. (Read more here.) Article by Shannon Hernandez, American Bar Association.

‘It’s not supposed to be this way’: Why it’s getting more difficult for foster families

Foster care asks caregivers to perform an almost impossible task: Love the child as your own, but relinquish the youth without delay or protest when social workers say the time has come. Read complete Los Angeles Times article by Contact Reporter: Garrett Therof here.

NACAC Is Offering a Webinar on the Adoption Tax Credit – February 2nd

On February 2nd at 2pm central (3pm eastern, 1pm mountain, noon pacific), NACAC’s adoption tax credit expert, Josh Kroll, will present a webinar on the federal adoption tax credit.  Participants will learn the steps they need to take to file for 2015, but it will also cover applying for the credit for adoptions as far back as 2012.  Josh will explain what parents need to do to take advantage of the credit.

The webinar is $15 for NACAC members and $20 for non-members. Payment is accepted by credit card or PayPal.

Register for the webinar here.

 

Scholarships available for the NACAC Conference

NACAC LogoLos Angeles County DCFS has a limited number of scholarships available for select parents and workers to attend the NACAC conference — Thursday, July 30 to Saturday, August 1, with an all-day pre-conference session by Dr. Dan Siegel on Wednesday, July 29.

Scholarships are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Click here for information on all the sessions, the conference schedule.

Scholarships are open to parents who meet at least one of the following criteria:

Parent Scholarships:

  • Are adoptive parents who adopted through Los Angeles County DCFS or a Foster Family Agency serving the county
  • Are state-licensed (not certified) foster parents serving Los Angeles County
  • Are relative or non-relative extended family member (NREFM) caregivers serving children through Los Angeles County DCFS

NACAC Resource Parent Scholarship Registration Form

DCFS Staff Scholarships:

The DCFS staff scholarships are open to all staff of Los Angeles County DCFS. The scholarship covers registration fees for the pre-conference session by Dr. Dan Siegel on Wednesday, July 29, and registration for the conference on Thursday and Friday. It does not cover Saturday’s workshops or luncheon, although attendees can pay their own way to attend on Saturday if they’d like.

NACAC DCFS Staff Scholarship Registration Form

 

Soaring caseloads, flat funding crush dependency system

American Civil Liberties Union of California releases a new white paper called “System on the Brink.” The ACLU white paper discusses unmanageable caseloads and the dependency attorney’s moral and legal responsibility to represent their clients. An “optimal” caseload, according to the Judicial Council, is 77 per attorney.  In Los Angeles County, the dependency counsel average is over 300 caseloads per attorney. Read the complete white paper here.  Read the article summary here.

Los Angeles County Offers Equal Pay for Relative Caregivers

Grandparents raising their grandchildren full time in Los Angeles County will soon be eligible to receive additional financial support through a state program that provides funds for certain foster children living with relatives, Santa Monica area county Supervisor Sheila Kuehl announced.

Kuehl’s motion, co-authored by Supervisor Don Knabe and approved by the County Board of Supervisors this past week, instructs the Department of Children and Family Services to opt into the state’s Approved Relative Caregiver (ARC) Program by no later than June 1.

Plaintiff in landmark lawsuit against DCFS adopts her foster child on National Adoption Day

National Adoption Day 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DD Post Adoption Day

The voice of foster kids

 LA Times Logo150xfxJim Newton reports for the Los Angeles Times on the foster care system and why the county should include foster parents in decisions about the children in their care. Deborah Dentler discusses the grievance procedure for foster parents. Read the complete article here.